The Slideshow Effect picks up where Memoryhouse's debut EP, The Years, left off, for the most part. Evan Abeele's cinematic instrumentals remain draped in a fine mist of reverb and Denise Nouvion's plaintive croon remains as buttery as ever, but there are slight changes. With a studio at his disposal, Abeele opted for more organic instrumentation, replacing the down-tempo drum machines and clouded swirl of lo-fi soundscapes of The Years with live drumming and crisper, chiming keyboards and guitars. It's a blessing and a curse. There's no doubt the songwriting is there ― these are some of the Guelph, ON duo's finest work ― but the LP's best tracks ("All Our Wonder" and Old Haunts") share the lo-fi production that was a boon to the atmospheric beauty of their EP. The band know their strengths though; Nouvion's voice has been moved to the top of the mix, making its lovely, haunting timbre even more apparent. The Slideshow Effect leaves Memoryhouse with a tough decision for the next LP: do they embrace their ethereal side wholly or make a radical move away from it? Either way, it will be one to anticipate, but The Slideshow Effect will more than tide fans over until then.
How, if at all, did you want The Slideshow Effect to differ from The Years?
Abeele: I think we just wanted to progress the existing aesthetic, but more so than anything else, I didn't want our sound to be diluted. In the early days, we lacked the confidence to really take a full measure with our music; we had to make certain compromises, as one does when they're doing home recordings in their bedroom or whatever. We just wanted people to be able to hear us and see us and not have that sound diluted by obscured vocals or anything like that. We wanted people to be able to hear us and identify our musical personality. Bands these days are just copying each other in a way that's leaving no one with any distinguished or identifiable sound. With the record, we just wanted to show that we could separate ourselves from that, so that if you take away the modern gimmicks of having bad recording quality or reverb, we still have very good songs at the core of it. We want people to be able to identify that. (Sub Pop)